The University of Chicago
The University of Chicago

Local Business Center, Division of the Physical Sciences

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First Steps

Checklist for new faculty/investigators...

  • Obtain Cnet ID
  • Ensure PI eligibility
  • Complete conflict of interest disclosure
  • Be registered by URA in AURA and in all other relevant grant administration portals (FastLane, eRA Commons/eSNAP, nSpires, STSci, etc.)
  • Obtain a signature authorization number

Only those with PI eligibility may submit grant proposals. To qualify one must be a full time, salaried academic with the title of Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, Instructor, Senior Scientist, Senior Research Associate, Research Scientist, or a Research Associate with parenthetical rank of Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor. Requests for early Principal Investigator status (for current employees who are expected to be promoted to a PI-eligible position in the near future) must be accompanied by a conditional letter of offer.
Note: PI eligibility must be secured prior to applying for a sponsored award.

Individuals without the titles listed above, including those with "Clinical" as part of their appointment title (e.g., Assistant Clinical Professor, Clinical Assistant Professor, etc.), and individuals not full time salaried academics at the University, are not eligible to serve as principal investigator except under the following conditions: (1) as co-investigator with an individual of appropriate rank, or (2) with approval from the Office of the Provost. Principal investigator status is not afforded to Postdoctoral Researchers except in cases where a sponsoring agency expects it and a faculty mentor is named to monitor project progress.

In those rare occasions when one of the above titles is held by someone who is not or is no longer employed by The University, automatic PI eligibility is not granted. An individual who is not an employee but wishes to obtain approval as a Principal Investigator must receive approval from the Office of the Provost.

To obtain approval from the Office of the Provost, the following steps are required:

  1. When an academic staff member without one of the above listed ranks considers submitting a proposal as a principal investigator, a memorandum must be prepared which provides a rationale for the individual to serve as principal investigator. This memo, including a current c.v. for the proposed PI, must be endorsed by the appropriate department chair. If the person has no prior experience as a principal investigator, the memo should address how and by whom the person will be mentored in the technical and project management duties of a PI. The recommending department or unit should confirm that the appropriate administrative and fiscal support staff and services are available to support the PI.
  2. This memorandum is then submitted to the Dean's Office for endorsement.
  3. After obtaining the Dean's approval, the memorandum must be forwarded to University Research Administration, which will obtain approval from the Office of the Provost.

All investigators and key personnel on an award are subject to the University's conflict of interest policy and should review it. All participating investigators and key personnel (that are University employees) should complete the online conflict of interest disclosure prior to the submission of a proposal.

The Financial administrator should ensure that the URA has registered the PI with all appropriate pre/post-award systems such as Fastlane, Nspires, eRA Commons. In some cases the proposal cannot be submitted without this registration.

The PI and any co-PIs should also get signature authorizations numbers, without which they cannot be properly attributed to the award accounts should the proposal be funded. The signature authorization form must be completed by the PI, approved the LBC manager, and forwarded to Payroll.

George Herbert Jones Laboratory

PSD LBC Main Office

Jones Laboratory: 5555 S. Ellis Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637

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Eckhart Hall

PSD LBC Satellite Office

Eckhart Hall: 5734 S. University Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637

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Gordon Center for Integrative Science

Chemistry Business Center

Gordon Center for Integrative Science: 929 E 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637

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